Garter Snake and Wood Frog
Sunday, June 20 2010
I had a bad hangover today as a result of that drinking I'd done last night with Ray. Usually if I just drink hard liquor, the hangover isn't too bad no matter how much I drink (as long as it's not tequila). But I thrown a single Hurricane Kitty IPA into the mix, and that might well have been my undoing. Every hangover is different, and this one seemed to be centered in my gut, occasionally making me sweat with nausea. At times I'd reflect on how bad I was feeling and experience despair that there was no escape from it for many hours. My hangovers usually last a good twelve hours, and often peak at around seven PM. But liquor hangovers are a bit different, tending to peak in the morning and come with few or no psychological effects.
The day was an especially hot one, and if one has a hangover on a hot day, a good place to spend part of it is in the shade on a lawn chair. I tried doing that with a cup of coffee this morning, but I was too nauseated to drink much of that.
At some point I undertook more of my obsessive tomato mulching project, which involves gathering leaves from the strip of woods just west of the tomato patches and covering the soil around the tomatos with them, and then weighting the leaves down with sticks. Having worked on this project for weeks now, the surface of the southmost tomato patch is looking more and more like something created by Andy Goldsworthy. (The other tomato patch is mulched with leaves and pinecones and is lovely in a different sort of way.)
Sometimes when I'm gathering leaves from the woods, I find that I've accidentally gathered up a Wood Frog as well. I don't usually notice this until I see the frog hopping away from the site where I've placed the leaves. Wood Frogs look exactly like leaves and so stand out (initially as an apparent leaf) when they're sitting in a grassy lawn.
Today as I was puttering around the tomatoes I saw a most unusual site: a Wood Frog bounding out of the woods in the direction of the south tomato patch. And behind him was a garter snake in hot pursuit. The frog made it among the tomatos and vanished (there are lots of places for a small creature to hide there, including between the stones of the bluestone retaining wall) and it was clear the snake had lost sight of him. So then the snake undertook an interesting hunting behavior, slithering quickly to different places where he'd last seen the frog and then stopping, holding his head about four inches above the grass and slowly looking around. Then he'd quickly move again to another random place and do the same thing. It was not unlike the behavior of a dog who has lost a rabbit in a field.
In the evening I went up the road to Andrea's house with the wheelbarrow to get another load of mushroom dirt. Andrea had just gotten another dumptruck load of the stuff, and part of my job while I was there was replacing a fencepost that had been removed as part of the delivery. As with everywhere else up here on the mountain, the soil is shallow at Andrea's, so I ended up having to stack rocks around the base of the post to help hold it in place.
At some point this evening I was playing around with Google Maps and was astounded to see that the Street View car (with its high-tech rig of cameras) had apparently driven past our house and added Dug Hill Road to its database. Judging from the cars in our driveway (which included a dark Honda Civic) and the state of Dug Hill Road (this was after it had been resurfaced), the date of the drive by had been in the Spring of 2008. Amusingly, the drive-by had taken place during the brief period each week when a swarm of underpaid Mexicans descend on the lawn of our suburbanite across-the-road neighbors to beat back mother nature.
Given all the un-Street-Mapped roads in America, I wouldn't have expected Dug Hill Road to make it into Street View for another ten years. And they'd apparently been on Hurley Mountain Road at least twice, because when one gets to the intersection of Dug Hill Road and Hurley Mountain Road, if one heads south it's autumn and the fields are full of corn stalks, but if one heads north, it's spring and the fields have just been plowed.
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